Jamaica, Bahama, come on pretty mama! You want to go way down to Kokomo, but you want to be conscious about leaving those foot prints behind. With eco-travel on the rise, more and more platforms are popping up to help educate and inform. Even the most erudite travelers can learn something new these days. For those of you who need a little nudge here are my favorite ways to travel sustainably!
Let me start by saying every destination has different considerations. 3rd World countries, while slowly gaining access to more resources, are still going to require more finagling on your end. Number one rule of thumb….be mindful no matter where you go! Mi casa is not always su casa and it will serve you well to read up on customs and cultural etiquette before you land.
1. Use resources sparingly
Whether this means bringing your own water bottle (given that tap water is safe in your area) or taking a quick shower, there are many ways to keep your footprint small. One tip travelers may not think about is buying solar powered chargers for your electronics.
REI is a great source for these products:
Also bringing your own biodegradable utensils and some storage containers for food. We waste around 1.3 billion tons of food a year….don’t be that guy.
Check out: http://store-jfohpy.mybigcommerce.com/repeat-utensil-set-agave/ for great gadgets for the road.
2. For God’s sake, don’t touch everything!
This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised! This means the wildlife, the plants, the art and the people! Ask a local before going slap happy with your camera and hands. Some people are very private and don’t want their mug everywhere. In regards to the wildlife and vegetation, make sure not to disturb them in their natural environment. Look on them fondly, contemplate and enjoy, but remember that they are sacred too and should feel comfortable in their own home. Finally, be careful when admiring local statues and buildings. Have you ever seen the statue of Lincoln in Illinois? His nose is rubbed clean off (supposedly it brings good luck?) because of touchers. You can help be part of the solution for maintaining history and culture by keeping your hands to yourself. I’m all for curiosity, but we have to get real about our oily paws!
3. This is my favorite! Shop local!
Chances are you have an H&M in your hometown and unless your in Germany, you probably don’t need to shop there. Instead, by gifts for your loved ones and self that are meaningful and small. Do a little digging about the country you are visiting and search for businesses that are run by locals, women and promote sustainability. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy the rest of the shopping, just be mindful about where you are going. Plus nothing beats bringing home a gift from a place that no one else is going to have! This goes for eating out too. Find out from a local their favorite place to eat and try it out!
4. Take public transportation as often as possible or get a bike! Enough said.
5. Help out abroad.
Find a way to contribute to the place you are visiting. Whether donating to a local organization or actually getting in their and volunteering, you can help build each places economy by doing so! Another fun way to contribute is to take one of your favorite hobbies and do it abroad! If you like cooking, take a cooking class in Egypt!
This a great way to have fun and put money into their economy.
6. Last, but not least, avoid “all-inclusive resorts” and go the home-share way!
I know this is a hard one to swallow for the honeymooners or budget conscious couple, but the reality is, a lot of waste comes out of those places and in the long run it’s not doing anyone any favors. You can actually travel pretty affordably abroad through Air B-N-B and still get your privacy. Not only that, but you will be having a more authentic experience. You may even make life long friends through the host family! Not to mention some of these homes are GORGEOUS!
For more resources check out:
Until next time #keepinspiring